Operators and enterprises are looking at automating network test labs to drive speed, innovation, and cost reduction while improving to collaborate with customers and suppliers. C P Manoharan, Director of Business Development, Spirent Communications, elaborates with Voice&Data on how this is done and on the company’s presence in India.
Voice&Data (V&D): Accelerating 5G deployments: How can telecom operators reduce the complexity and costs of 5G testing, while advancing time to revenue for new services?
C P Manoharan (CPM): Performance of 5G core networks is paramount for attracting enterprise investments, trust, and use case adoption. This is driving operators to expedite realistic and authentic system testing emulating real-world conditions, spanning a range of network elements and complex procedures, bringing higher stability and endurance requirements, while reducing complexity & costs. Operators have begun to embrace open and virtual network infrastructure and 5G is seen catalyzing significant developments in the next-generation networks. Telecom operators must deploy service assurance alongside the earliest stages of their next-gen network rollouts to minimize cost and improve time-to-market, for delivering 5G service offerings.
Spirent has been supporting many 5G-driven engagements with telecom operators, network equipment manufacturers, and device makers. We are focussed on helping customers so that they advance quickly in pursuit of new opportunities. Spirent is a leader in 5G test, assurance, analytics, and security, with end-to-end expertise and solutions that address the challenges of 5G, from lab to live network testing.
V&D: Cloud is the foundation of 5G, SD-WAN, and enterprise networks. What is your take on this?
CPM: In order to move up the value chain, network operators are transforming into indirect cloud providers. This transformation brings the known challenges of moving away from dedicated hardware-based appliances to software-based blend. Here, it is important to make sure, that the underlying infrastructure can meet the demands; higher bandwidth, lower latency, and dynamic application workloads – while reducing CAPEX and OPEX.
Such transformations also accentuate unknown challenges, such as moving network operators’ infrastructure towards multi-site cloud-based data centers, future-proofed to handle microservices architectures, cloud-native applications – all on top of commodity hardware.
Operators and enterprises are looking at automating network test labs to drive speed, innovation, and cost reduction while improving to collaborate with customers and suppliers. The sudden emergence of the pandemic has only accelerated this trend; however, they’re seeing a path forward with enhanced lab automation.
Leveraging our comprehensive technology portfolio to our customer’s best advantage, Spirent’s Managed Solutions support the entire lifecycle of a prospective next-gen innovation — from Lab to Live — driven by continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) approaches, with impactful continuous test (CT) strategies.
Our managed solutions are standardized and customizable offerings that speed up innovation and reduce costs for network equipment manufacturers (NEMs) and cloud service providers (CSPs). Our solutions automate each stage of the Telecom Innovation Pipeline (benefiting from CI/CD and NetDevOps best practices) and provide feedback for continuous improvement. Our goal is to accelerate customer’s time to market and empower continuous innovation to ensure customer offerings stay ahead of the market expectation.
V&D: The complexity of 5G security is overwhelming. How do network equipment manufacturers and service providers integrate security into 5G deployments?
CPM: 5G network equipment manufacturers and service providers need trusted guidance on how to integrate security into 5G deployments, continuously assess the effectiveness of the security they have put in place, and how to focus on innovation rather than risk. Spirent recognizes that a new breed of Security Test and Assurance is required, that can seamlessly and continuously operate across the lifecycle as solutions are developed, deployed, operated, and transitioned through digital supply chains.
Spirent provides end-to-end capabilities across all dimensions of the 5G security challenge, including security across the 5G supply chain. Spirent facilitates 5G supply chain continuity planning, research, and prototyping, including investigation of disaster recovery (DR) scenarios, rapid vendor quarantine, and displacement using 5G functional disaggregation and slices to create isolated treatment centers and more.
V&D: With new Wi-Fi technologies such as Wi-Fi 6, testing is more important than ever before. What is important to bear in mind for Wi-Fi 6 performance test solution?
CPM: Users expect Wi-Fi technologies to be ubiquitous. The emergence of the latest enhancements such as Wi-Fi 6 allows network equipment manufacturers, service providers, and enterprises to scale up their Wi-Fi access points to carrier-grade and enterprise-grade technology, improving capacity, performance, reliability, and security significantly.
Spirent TestCenter WLAN 802.11ax testing solution can be employed for functionality, feature and performance testing of IEEE 802.11ax Access Points (APs) and end-to-end testing of WLAN ecosystems, including WLAN access controllers and gateways. It emulates a large number of realistic WLAN clients through both the in-chassis 2.5G/5G Ethernet and 802.11ax Wi-Fi test ports to easily achieve multi-Gbps throughput. The solution also provides complete Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) testing coverage through the integration of a radar signal emulation tool, to support both RF cabled conductive testing and Over-The-Air (OTA) testing.
Spirent TestCenter WLAN 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) testing solution when combined with Spirent’s first-to-market 2.5G/5G BASE-T Ethernet products, it forms the highest performing and the most realistic 802.11ax wireless local area network (WLAN) multi-client emulation and testing tool available in the market today, enabling the Wi-Fi industry to advance the development and deployment of Wi-Fi 6 technology.
V&D: What are the key focus areas for Spirent in India?
CPM: India is a diverse market and Spirent recognizes substantial opportunity to extend the reach of our evolving solutions portfolio to help customers. We continue to strengthen partnerships and alliances to develop broader and deeper customer reach.
Spirent’s Lab and Live market leadership with test and assurance solutions is built on technological innovation and close working relationships with service providers, network equipment manufacturers, and enterprises, and that will remain core to the company’s continued success in the region.
Our focus in India is aligned with our commitment to improve how we partner with customers, providing not only solutions but also the insights, service, and innovation that drive real business transformation.